After taking over Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel last week and turning it into the Ambrose Asylum per the orders of Shane McMahon, RAW kicks off with Dean Ambrose as “The Lunatic Fringe” would present the latest edition of The Ambrose Asylum. After telling a joke about Braun Strowman and pointing out James Corden’s parents in the crowd, Dean Ambrose reveals that his guest on The Ambrose Asylum is in charge of RAW for the third week in a row as Shane McMahon makes his way to the ring. After greeting his guest, Dean Ambrose says that he’s done a lot of things in his life that have been deemed “questionable”, but nothing compared to what Shane McMahon did at WrestleMania. Ambrose then shows the clip from WrestleMania where Shane dove off of the Hell in a Cell structure and went through the announce table during his match against The Undertaker. “The Lunatic Fringe” then asks what is on Shane’s agenda in terms of RAW and Shane says that there is a “new era” that has emerged since he took control of RAW and, now, Superstars like AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, and Sasha Banks are getting new opportunities.
Shane then declares that “we have arrived” before The Ambrose Asylum is crashed by Kevin Owens. Owens says that, in his opinion, what he’s seeing is the “same old crap” he’s been seeing for years, saying that he sees a McMahon “mad with power” who has a “personal vendetta” against this generation’s top Superstar and that is him. Shane says that he doesn’t have a personal vendetta against Owens and, when Owens brings up getting kicked out of the arena last week, Shane says that he had Owens removed from the arena because he wasn’t going to let Owens cost Sami Zayn another opportunity. Owens then claims that he got punished for being an “honest man” before saying that Sami Zayn doesn’t belong anywhere near the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Owens continues, saying that Sami Zayn has been riding his coattails for years because Sami is not “good enough” to make it on his own.
Having heard enough from his former friend, Sami Zayn interrupts, making his way to the ring as he reminds Kevin Owens that he got signed to WWE before Owens did. Zayn then tells Owens that Owens would have never made it to WWE if it wasn’t for him, saying that Owens has made a career out of stabbing his friends in the back. Chris Jericho then storms down to the ring, telling Sami Zayn that there are bigger things to deal with than Sami Zayn’s “stupid emotions” before confronting Shane McMahon, saying Shane is “drunk with power”. Jericho then says that he has never liked Shane, but Shane needs to realize that he is the “best in the world” at what he does and that includes hosting the greatest talk show segment of all-time, The Highlight Reel, which Shane took away from him last week. Shane says that he is all about “new opportunities” and that is why they have The Ambrose Asylum.
An argument then breaks out amongst the Superstars in the ring before Dean Ambrose shouts at everyone, telling them to be careful around his plastic potted plant. Shane then takes this moment to announce that he is going to settle these issues right now before Shane announces that, in just under two weeks at Payback, Chris Jericho will go one-on-one with Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens will be squaring off with Sami Zayn! Sensing a fight about to break out, Shane opts to leave the ring just before a fight indeed breaks out with Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn getting the better of their respective fights, sending Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens out of the ring.
In an impromptu match made by Shane McMahon, the opening match of the night would see “The Underdog from the Underground” Sami Zayn square off with Chris Jericho. During the match, Chris Jericho would deliver a thumb to the eye of Sami Zayn behind the back of the referee and this would allow Jericho to capitalize with the Codebreaker, pinning Sami to pick up the win in a hard-fought match.
Backstage, Mauro Ranallo is interviewing the #1 Contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, AJ Styles, when the interview is interrupted by a couple of AJ Styles’ friends from New Japan, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson. The three men then embrace before Luke Gallows thanks AJ Styles for putting in a good word for them and letting them get their feet in the door at WWE. Karl Anderson then says that he’s been working his entire life to be in WWE and there’s “no turning back”, saying he can’t thank Styles enough. Gallows then says that they are going to make the most out of their opportunity and they know that AJ is going to make the most out of his opportunity at Payback. Anderson then tells Styles that, when he grows up, he wants to be “just like” AJ Styles. The three Superstars then exit to do some more reminiscing about some of their fun nights in Japan.
In the first of two Semi-Final matchups in the #1 Contenders’ Tag Team Tournament, Enzo & Cass would square off with The Dudley Boyz with the winners advancing to the Finals of the #1 Contenders’ Tag Team Tournament. During the match, Bubba Ray Dudley would inadvertently knock D-Von out of the ring, paving the way for Enzo & Cass to take advantage, utilizing the Rocket Launcher maneuver with Enzo pinning Bubba Ray to pick up the win and advance to the Finals of the tournament where they will face either The Usos or The Vaudevillains.
Thirteen nights before he defends the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against AJ Styles at Payback, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns would make an appearance on RAW. Once again, the champion starts by saying that he’s not a “good guy” and he’s not a “bad guy”, he’s “the guy”. Roman then addresses his Payback opponent, AJ Styles, saying that Styles is going to try and out-wrestle him, but he is bringing the “big fight” at Payback. The champion then says that this is the “era of the Roman Empire” and he’s there to stay. Roman’s address is then interrupted by his Payback opponent as “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles makes his way to the ring to confront the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Styles says that Roman has “got it all” and, to beat Reigns, he is going to have to have the match of his life, but having the match of his life is what he does and, at Payback, having the match of his life is going to make him the champion.
Reigns says that he had the match of his life at WrestleMania and that is where he became the champion, saying that he agrees with Styles. Roman then says that the whole world likes AJ Styles, but what they won’t like is when he beats AJ at Payback, saying that the fans will “respect” him. The champion continues, saying that he’d much rather be “respected” with the title than be “liked without it”. Styles then says that he would rather be liked and respected because that would make him a “phenomenal” WWE World Heavyweight Champion. AJ Styles then backs away before exiting the ring, but as Roman Reigns’ focus is on AJ Styles, Styles’ buddies Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson enter the ring, blindsiding the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and taking Roman out with the Boot of Doom! Gallows & Anderson then exit the ring to join AJ Styles, who doesn’t appear to be pleased with Gallows & Anderson’s attack on the champion.
Backstage, Roman Reigns is trying to walk off the attack from Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson moments earlier when he is confronted by AJ Styles, who tries to tell the champion that he had “no idea” that Gallows & Anderson would attack Roman. However, Reigns isn’t buying it, saying that, last week, Gallows & Anderson attacked his cousins, The Usos, and this week they attack him. Roman then tells Styles that he better start telling the truth or start “selling a new story”. Styles says that he doesn’t need his friends to beat Roman for the title and Reigns says that AJ can bring all of his friends, but it won’t matter.
With Dolph Ziggler a guest on commentary, “The Lone Wolf” was in action on RAW as Baron Corbin would go one-on-one with Fandango. During the match, the action would spill to the outside where Baron Corbin would toss Fandango into Dolph Ziggler at ringside. Corbin then brings Fandango back into the ring, hitting the End of Days and pinning Fandango for the win. After the match, Dolph Ziggler would attack Baron Corbin, but “The Lone Wolf” would get the better of the fight, knocking Dolph to the outside before once again planting “The Show Off” face-first on the outside with the End of Days!
Before he defends his Intercontinental Championship against Cesaro at Payback in just under two weeks, Intercontinental Champion The Miz and his wife Maryse would be on RAW for Miz TV. The Miz says that he and Maryse are the “Hollywood it couple” before saying that their “baby” is pristine, referring to his Intercontinental Championship. Miz TV is then interrupted by The Miz’s Payback opponent, Cesaro, who makes his way to the ring. Cesaro calls The Miz a “royal pain in the ass” before The Miz calls Cesaro a “supporting actor”. The Miz then does his best impersonation of Liam Neeson in the movie, “Taken”, before Cesaro says that the only thing that is going to happen at Payback is he’s going to take the Intercontinental Championship from The Miz.
This leads to a face-off between champion and challenger before The Miz says that there’s nothing he would love more than to beat Cesaro right now, but they both know that Cesaro is scheduled for a match right now, which brings out Cesaro’s opponent, Rusev, along with Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio. However, Cesaro informs The League of Nations that he talked to Shane McMahon and, now, his scheduled one-on-one match with Rusev is going to be an 8-Man Tag Match as The League of Nations and The Miz will face Cesaro and The New Day!
In an impromptu match made by Shane McMahon, “The Swiss Superman” Cesaro would join forces with WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day to face Intercontinental Champion The Miz and The League of Nations in an 8-Man Tag match. At the end of a wild match, it was Cesaro planting Sheamus with the Neutralizer, pinning “The Celtic Warrior” to pick up the win for himself and The New Day.
Before she challenges Charlotte for the WWE Women’s Championship with her uncle Bret Hart in her corner at Payback, Natalya would join forces with Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and England’s own Paige to face WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte, Naomi, Tamina, & Summer Rae in an 8-Woman Tag Match. In the end, it was Natalya locking in the Sharpshooter on Charlotte, making the champion tap out to pick up the win for her team.
In the second Semi-Final match in the #1 Contenders’ Tag Team Tournament, The Vaudevillains would make their RAW debut as the throwback team would face The Usos with the winning team advancing to the Finals. During the match, The Vaudevillains would target the injured shoulder of Jey Uso before hitting the Whirling Dervish on Jey with Simon Gotch pinning Jey to pick up the win for The Vaudevillains, who now advance to the Finals of the #1 Contenders’ Tag Team Tournament to face Enzo & Cass at Payback.
The dynamic Apollo Crews was in action on RAW as Crews would go one-on-one with The Social Outcasts’ Heath Slater, with Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel in his corner. In the end, it was Apollo Crews hitting the spinning sitout powerbomb, pinning Heath Slater for the win.
Then it was time for the main event as an intense rivalry would be renewed as “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose would go one-on-one with Kevin Owens. During a grueling match between the two rivals, both Superstars would fire their best shots, which included Kevin Owens delivering a package side slam off of the top rope, but when Kevin Owens misses with the Cannonball, Dean Ambrose would spot his opening, dropping Owens with Dirty Deeds, pinning Owens to pick up the win. After the match, Chris Jericho would strike as “Y2J” would slide into the ring, dropping Dean Ambrose with the Codebreaker, leaving Jericho standing tall with a smile on his face.
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